NEW DEHLI — The Olsen twins might be all grown up with their own business empire now, but in India they’ll always be cute little Michelle on sitcom “Full House.”
Born in 1986, Mary Kate and Ashley weren’t even out of diapers when they were first hired to alternate in the role of baby Michelle on the series, launching a film and TV career that has since grown into a multimillion-dollar global brand with a clothing line, perfume, magazine, book series and official videogame.
Although the show was canceled in 1995, it remains one of the most popular English-language shows in India. “Full House” reruns have been aired daily since Zee launched its Anglo service in 2000, currently in the 11:30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. slots.
When the end of the series is reached, the channel simply starts at the beginning and, overnight, the Olsens and family lose eight years.
Despite the endless repeats, the show is ranked among the top-10 shows in the relatively small English-language market (2%) in India with an averageof 775,000 viewers during the first six months of 2005.
The only English shows, excluding movies, with higher ratings are local talkshow “Koffee With Karan” (1.6), “Friends” (0.9), local travel show “Star Asia Travel” (0.6), and music programs “Fresh Hits” (0.7) and “Western Music” (0.6).
International hit sitcoms and dramas such “Frasier,” “NewsRadio,” “Will & Grace,” “Sex and the City,” “The Practice,” “The West Wing,” “The Sopranos” and “Six Feet Under” have not been able to match the audience pull of the reruns of “Full House” and “Friends,” of which the final season has not yet been broadcast in India.
A Zee repp says a loyal following has built up over the years among its viewers for the popular older shows, particularly comedies. Although it was necessary to bring in new shows to expand viewership, keeping the older fare on air kept the channel’s core viewers happy and loyal.
” ‘Full House’ has something about it that even if you watch it for the third or fourth time, you don’t get bored,” says TV reviewer Rohan Kul.
As long as the fans keep watching, the Olsen twins can count on staying forever young in India.